« ZurückWeiter »
51 good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
16 Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers : for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
SECTION III. Extracts from the Epistles of James, Peter, and John.
1 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
3 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, depart in peace, ye
warmed and filled ; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
4 Even so, faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone, Yea, a man may say, thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. For, as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. 5 For it is better, if the will of God be SO,
suffer for well doing
6 And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtụe; and to virtue knowledge ; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
7 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from
him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
8 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
ABRIDGMENT OF THE LIVES AND MORAL DISCOURSES OF
CONFUCIUS AND SOCRATES; AND SENECA'S MORALS.
ABRIDGMENT OF THE LIFE AND MORAL PRECEPTS OF
Let others bestrew the hearses of the great with panegyric. When a philosopher dies, I consider myself as losing a patron, an instructor and a friend : I consider the world as losing one who might serve to console her amidst the desolations of war and ambition. Nature seems to have forgotten, for more than three thousand years, the manner in which she once formed the brain of a Confucius.
Goldsmith. 1 THE celebrated Chinese philosopher, Confucius, did not grow in knowledge by degrees, as children usually do, but seemed to arrive at reason and the perfection of his faculties alınost from his infancy. He had a grave and serious deportment, which gained him respect, and plainly foretold what he one day would be.
2 What distinguished him most was his unexampled and exalted piety. He honored his relations; he endeavored in all things to imitate his grandfather, who was then alive in China, and a very pious man.
3 One day, when he was a child, he heard his grandfather fetch a deep sigh ; and going up to him with much reverence, “may I presume,” says he, “ without losing the respect I owe you, to inquire into the occasion of your grief? Perhaps you fear that your posterity should degenerate from your virtue, and dishonor you by their vices.'
4 What put this thought into your head, says his grandfather to him ? and where have you learnt to speak in this manner? “From yourself,” replied Confucius. “I attend diligently to you every time you speak; and I have often heard you say, that a son, who does not by his own virtue support the glory of his ancestors, and imitate the virtues of his parents, does not deserve to bear their name.
5 At the age of twenty three, when he had gained considerable knowledge of antiquity, and acquainted himself with the laws and customs of his country, he began to project a scheme for a general reformation; for then all the litte kingdoms depended upon the emperor; but it often happened that the imperial authority was not able to keep them within the bounds of their duty, each of the kings being master of his dominions.
6 Confucius, wisely persuaded that the people could never be happy, so long as avarice, ambition, voluptuousness, and false policy should reign in this manner, resolved to preach up a severe morality; and accordingly he began to enforce temperance, justice, and other virtues, to inspire a contempt of riches and outward pomp, to excite to magnanimity and greatness of soul, which should make men incapable of dissimulation and insincerity.
7 He used every mean he could devise, to redeem his countrymen from a life of pleasure to a life of reason. He was every where known, and as much beloved. His extreme knowledge and great wisdom soon made him known: his integrity, and the splendor of his virtues, made him beloved. Kings were governed by his wisdom, and the peaple reverenced him as a saint,
8 He was offered several high offices in the magistracy, which he sometimes accepted ; but never from a motive of ambition, which he was not at all concerned to gratify, but always with a view of reforming a corrupt state, and amending mankind : for he never failed to resign those offices, as soon as he perceived that he could be no longer useful in them.
9. He inculcated fidelity and candor among the men, exhorted the women to chastity and simplicity of manners. By such methods he wrought a general reformation, and established every where such concord and humanity, that the kingdom seemed as it were but one great family.
10 Thus the people, regulated by the wise maxims and precepts of Confucius, enjoyed general happiness, till at length the jealousy of the neighboring kings was excited. They were convinced that a king, under the counsels of such a man as Confucius would soon become too powerful. They contrived a plot to demolish the edifice of wisdom and virtue, which Confucius had erected, by the temptations of dissipation, luxury, vice and sensual pleasures.
11 Conspiracies were formed against his life: to which may be added, that his neglect to his own interests had reduced him to the extremest poverty. Some philosophers among his cotemporaries were so affected with the terrible state of things, that they had rusticated themselves into the mountains and deserts, as the only places where happiness could be found ; and would have persuaded Confucius to have followed them.
12 But “I am a man, says Confucius, and cannot exclude myself from the society of men, and consort with beasts. Bad as the times are, I shall do all that I can to recall men to virtue: for in virtue are all things, and if mankind would but once embrace it, and submit themselves to its discipline, and laws, they would not want me or any body else to instruct them.
13 “It is the duty of a good man, first to perfect himself, and then to perfect others. Human nature, said he, came to us from heaven pure and perfect; but in process of time ignorance, the passions, and evil examples have corrupted it. All consists in restoring it to its primitive beauty; and to be perfect, we must re-ascend to that point, from which we have fallen.
14 “Obey heaven, and follow the orders of him who governs it. Love your neighbor as yourself. Let your reason, and not your senses, be the rule of your conduet; for reason will teach you to think wisely, to speak prudently, and to behave yourself worthily upon all occasions."
15 Confucius, in the mean time, though he had withdrawn himself from kings and palaces, did not cease to travel about, and do what good he could among the people, and among mankind in general. He had often in his mouth the maxims and examples of their ancient heroes, so that they were thought to be all revived in the person of this great mana We shall not wonder, therefore, that he proselyted a great number of disciples, who were inviolably attached to his person.
16 He sent six hundred of his disciples into different parts of the empire, to reform the manners of the people; and not satisfied with benefiting his own country only, he made frequent resolutions to pass the seas, and propagate his doctrine to the farthest part of the world. Hardly any thing can be added to the purity of his morality, which he taught as forcibly by example as by precept.
17 Confucius did not trust altogether to the memories of his disciples, for the preservation of his philosophy, but he composed several books: and though these books were greatly admired for the doctrines they contained, and the fine